Last year, in an effort to help people suffering from mental illness and their families, two area churches joined forces. Prayer groups from St. Hubert Catholic Church and Trinity Lutheran prayed about what to do to make a difference.
The first-year success of “Christmas for Western State” encouraged us to reach out to other churches. Langley Methodist and several others have pledged support and participation.
The Christmas for Western State in 2016 collected new and gently used items from a list provided by the hospital. A large van, completely full, and a few committee members made the trip from Whidbey Island to Western State Hospital. Hospital officials were effusive in their gratitude. Gifts donated to the hospital were some necessities, small holiday gifts and bingo prizes, items for which the hospital has no budget.
Another important part of our committee’s work is promoting the programs of NAMI — The National Alliance on Mental Illness. The availability of NAMI’s classes and support groups is not well known. We intend to spread the word. For additional information, please contact Jean Beers at St. Hubert Catholic Church or Linda Plitkins at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Finally, the Committee is indebted to the South Whidbey Record for its encouragement and publicity. Last year’s article with photos, documenting the trip to Western State was exceptional. We are deeply grateful for your interest.
JEAN BEERS, LINDA PLITKINS and the MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT COMMITTEE